I have always loved data. When I was in 2nd grade, my mom forced me to get a really short haircut because she was tired of trying to get the knots out of my longer hair. She tried to convince me that it was flattering. I decided to prove her wrong by administering a survey to my classmates. I was right. Pretty much everyone hated my haircut. Data do not always tell you what you want to hear, but they do always provide information.
When Dexcom released their Share feature earlier this year, I was ecstatic that I would be able to see Liam’s blood sugar 24/7. I thought it would be reassuring. Yay, CGM data in real time! I did not anticipate how stressful it would be. The first day after we activated Share, my phone registered LOW at just the time I knew he would be boarding the school bus to come home. On more than one occasion, I have sent the school nurse running down the hall with glucagon in hand, and she has found a perfectly safe lad chomping on glucose tabs.
The interesting thing about the Dexcom Share is that it makes Liam both more and less independent. We feel comfortable giving him more latitude in outings with his friends, and we no longer make him check in with the school nurse before lunch and gym class. However, both of his parents are now stalking him every moment of every day. We know every blip on his CGM in real time.
Share creates a similar paradox for us as parents (i.e., stalkers). We are both more confident that he is safe and more anxious about his safety. Knowing Liam’s blood sugar values in real time helps us to ensure his safety. However, what is going on with his blood sugar is sometimes ugly and anxiety provoking.
After the most recent episode of asking the school nurse to check on a boy who had everything completely under control (but wasn’t responding to my texts), we have agreed on a new system of communicating during Dexcom low alerts. Liam has agreed to text me to let me know that he’s taking care of it. If I don’t hear from him, I have reserved the right to sic the school nurse on him.
Written by Susan Ramsey